Highway Committee to host public hearings on naming requests

Published 5:55 pm Friday, February 9, 2018

Members of the Carter County Highway Committee will host several public hearings concerning bridge and road namings when the group meets on Monday.

The Highway Committee will meet on Monday at 2 p.m. at the Carter County Highway Department.

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During the committee’s meeting in November, members voted to send four separate naming requests to public hearings, which is required by state law. The requests were for three memorial bridge dedications and a request to change the name of a road.

The following items will be addressed during public hearings held in conjunction with the Highway Committee meeting on Monday afternoon:

• Wanda Marlow spoke to the committee and requested they name the bridge on Highway 19E which crosses over Laurel Fork Creek after SGM James Carroll Gilbert, who was killed in action during the Vietnam War. Highway Committee Chairman Mike Hill said Marlow presented the committee with petitions containing a large number of signatures supporting the request to name the bridge after Gilbert. Hill and fellow member Commissioner Danny Ward added their signatures to the petitions during the meeting. Commissioner John Lewis made a motion to hold a public hearing on the naming request, which is part of the procedure set forth under state law. Ward seconded the motion, which then passed unanimously on a vote by the Committee.

• Members of the Church family presented a petition to name a bridge across Elk River on Poga Road located between Ted Potter Road and Atlie Brown Road in memory of SP-4 Owen Ray Church. Lewis made a motion to set this request for a public hearing as well. Commissioner Robert Carroll seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

• Linda Johnson petitioned the Committee during the November meeting to name the bridge located on Gap Creek Road at the intersection of that road with Marion Branch Road as the “Gary D. Murphy Memorial Bridge.” Murphy was killed in action during the Vietnam War. Ward made a motion to set this naming request for a public hearing as well. Lewis provided the second for the motion, which then passed unanimously.

• During the public comments portion of the Highway Committee’s November meeting, a group of residents requested the committee to change the name of their road to help improve safety and security. The only three residents on a section of Hogum Hollow Road requested the committee to rename their section “Old Mountain Road.” The group said it would help improve safety due to GPS maps sending emergency and service vehicles through an impassable portion of the road in an attempt to access their homes. Following the request by the residents, Ward made a motion to hold a public hearing on the name change request. Lewis provided a second to the motion, which then passed unanimously.

The Committee was originally slated to host these public hearings during their January meeting, but that meeting was canceled by Chairman Commissioner Mike Hill following an issue with the public notice listing an incorrect date for the hearings.

Under Tennessee’s public meetings law, more commonly known as the “Sunshine Law,” governing bodies are required to provide “adequate public notice” of meetings and hearings to ensure the public has the opportunity to attend.